Do What I Say, Not as I Do

The best form of leadership is to model the right behavior.

by Eric Holdeman / May 12, 2020

The challenge of leadership is not an easy task. There are many elements required of leaders who seek to set the example for others to follow. This starts really with parenting. What does a child learn from a parent who tells their children not to bully others, but then sees the parent berate a waitress in a restaurant? It doesn't take long before the child learns not to trust the parent's words, but models themselves on the behavior of the parent. 

The motto of the United States Infantry is, "Follow me!" By that phrase, it puts the leader in front of his men, not behind them. "Do as I do" is the message. Out front is a place of danger — in the infantry for sure. My wife had an uncle killed in WWII on the Island of Tarawa, as a lieutenant in the Marines. It was his choice to try to personally take out a Japanese machine gun bunker. He was killed trying. 

We can have all the COVID-19 guidance coming from the White House on how to stay safe and open the economy, but when the White House itself does not follow their own guidance — well, what message does that send?

The vice president was exposed to the coronavirus due to this press secretary being tested and positive for the disease. By the book, he should be in 14 days of quarantine. But ... see the excerpt below from The Washington Post. 

"VP Pence is following the advice of the White House Medical Unit [really?] but is not quarantining.

Public health officials say that by flouting the administration’s best practices, White House officials are not just modeling poor behavior for the public but also putting themselves and the president at risk.

“If you’re going to not follow your own agencies’ workplace guidance, and if you’re not even performing necessary precautions — masks, testing, tracing and isolation — it’s a setup for an infectious-disease disaster,” said Kavita Patel, a physician and health policy adviser who worked in the Obama White House.

Patel said she was surprised the White House was being so cavalier, in part because of the national security implications. “I would assume you’d keep the vice president away from the White House as much as possible, not because he has it, but because you don’t want to risk any exposure,” she said. “I’ve been shocked by how frequently the vice president and the president have been together.”"

White House implements stringent mask policy — but not for Trump. A new directive reflected the latest attempt at mitigation by an administration that has struggled to manage the deadly pandemic, including within the 18-acre White House compound."

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